Stars on Ice
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Artistry on Ice: Red Temptation - Taipei, Taiwan - Jun. 9, 2012

written by Sachi

The arena is huge and it was mostly full. They installed more seats (around the ice) than they did at 4CC in the last season but the ice still looks like an Olympic size.

There were four TV cameras including one on a crane, and one temporary camera I think for TV news. It looks like the cameras are only for the screen rather than for broadcast, but I just do not know.

There is a big screen on a short end and they put introducing video of each skater before they skate in the act I.

Thanks to a great friend in Taipei, we got tickets on an advance sale for Amway members and they gave us a teddy bear with the amway ticket. The bear is wearing blades. =)

The format of the Artistry On Ice is a bit different from other ice shows I know. There is a host lady and she talks between the programs (I do not speak Chinese and I have no idea what she's talking), introducing celebrities in the arena (also I have no idea who they are or if they are anything to do with the show or just came to see the show), and introducing the skater who's skating next.

The ice surface looks covered by water in a big part of the rink.

Right before the show they accidentally played a video saying "the first half of the show was finished; the show resumes in 20 minutes after the intermission." LOL. Then they played the correct one for the beginning of the show, and the show started.

Act I

1. Opening - Moulin Rouge

First four fans appeared between the curtain on the front end. Then ladies holding the fans came in through the curtain.

Then guys came in, each in a tux with a cane and a hat.

The program was very cheerful and fun. Xue was playing the Nicole Kidman's role to the Diamond song.

After it finished, each skaters took off the ice as MC called their names one by one.

The host lady (I think her name is Miranda Lu but not really sure) came by the ice and talked for a while. She introduced Katie Holmes ("show ambassador"), Tiger Huang (singer in the show) and some other people in the audience. And she introduced Li Lixue.

2. Li Lixue

In a light blue dress. She was doing a great job in the big crowd.

The host talked again. I think she talked between every skater during Act I. The runlist shows the next skater is Jeffrey but it was Johnny who was waiting by the rink. It turned out they changed the skating order here and there from the printed one.

3 - Johnny Weir - Chopin

In black. Following Johnny took the ice, someone walked on to the ice. First I thought it was one of the staff, then found out it was Edvin Martin. While he passionately was playing the violin, the music sounded like recorded. Johnny's jumps were good but not as good as top competitive men yet.

4 - Joannie Rochette - Formidable

Joannie skating to Formidable
The audience is very responsive to her flirting moves. There is no ice seat so she did not use the scarf as she does in Stars On Ice but just waved it.

5 - Fiona Zaldua/Dmitry Sukhanov - Angeles and Demons

Zaldua/Sukhanov skating to Angels and Demons
Her unitard looked exactly like undies, and he was half naked. With their acrobatic moves the audience was responsing with big woo's and ah's.

6 - Jeffrey Buttle - Big Love

Jeffrey skating to Big Love
Jumpwise it was not his day, but I really love this program.

7 - Shizuka Arakawa - El Flamenco

Shizuka skating to El Flamenco
This is a program from a few years back but I think she brought it back because the show theme is "red temptation." I am glad she did so as this is one of my favorite programs of hers. After she quit competing her consistency is incredible. She hardly misses any jumps and she keeps growing as a performer. So it is no surprise that she performed this program with spark and with perfect jumps. Big respect to her.

8 - Kurt Browning - I'm Yours

Kurt, waiting for his introduction
The audience welcomed him with a really big cheer when the host lady introduced Kurt and the music. As he posted on FB his shirt says "I'm Yours" on the back in Chinese. The crowed loved it a lot too and gave him another big cheer when he showed it.
I'm Yours in Chinese

Kurt was on. The feets look so light and playful. Even more than his usual high standard. I thought it was so worth coming to Taipei just for this performance.
Kurt skating to I'm Yours

IIRC the program has a 3S but this time Kurt did a 3t there instead.

He accidentally ran into the jacket but managed to land a 3T soon after that.

After the performance the host said "thank you for being ours." Then, I was not watching but gathering from her and the crowd's reaction, I think he hugged or kissed her, or did something like that.

9 - Shen Xue/Zhao Hongbo

There was a big crescent hung from above. First Xue came in alone and skated for a while then got on the crescent.
Xue's solo
Xue on the crescent

Hongbo got on the ice, singing to a microphone. He is not a bad singer at all!!
singing Hongbo

Then the singer Tiger Huang took it over and Xue and Hongbo started skating together. It was a romantic program with a big throw jump.

Shen/Zhao got on the moving stage and talked with a female singer, Tiger Huang for a while. Do not ask me what they're talking.

10 - Tiger Huang

Tiger Huang singing
The female singer sang two songs on moving stage on the ice.

11 - Evgeny Plyushchenko - The Storm

Evgeny and Edvin Marton
Before he skated, the host interviewed a huge fan of Evgeny. As she talked about him she looked like she's moved to tears. But again I do not speak Chinese and I do not really know what they're talking.

The program was one of his typical gala programs of recent years with Edvin Martin, who was holding a violin, playing it or not. I used to love Jenya's skating very much but lately I am rather getting tired of his programs. But at least he landed a 3A, and he still has charisma to make crowd crazy.


Act 2

Act 2 started with some guy talking very long. Once again I have no idea what he was talking about.

I saw Kurt standing by the rink and listening to him through the long talk. I wondered why then found out that he was there because he's one of the first to skate in the next program.

1 Group Number - Batman

There were two motorbikes on a temporary stage on the ice. Kurt and Hongbo appeared and put helmets on, then mounted on the bikes, and did some poses to the music.
Kurt on the bike

Other skates came in a triangle formation. Guys were all wearing helmets. Kurt and Hongbo left the bike and joined to the group.

The concept was interesting but not much as a skating number. I was wondering if they used motorbikes because BMW is one of the show sponcers.

The choreo look a bit too slow to the music. The program may have been more interesting if they did it more crisp and a bit more in sync, but, well, this show is not Stars On Ice.

After the group number, Katie Holmes, "the celebrity ambassador of the show" and the host talked for a while. While they talked in English I did not understand if there's any kind of relation between Katie and the show other than the business deal. I do not think they even tried to make one up.
Katie and the host

2 - Li Lixue

I think she singled an axel but again her performance was enjoyable.

3 - Jeffrey Buttle - Both Sides Now

Jeffrey skating to Both Sides Now
His edges are gorgeous, but that is not news. =)

4 - Joannie Rochette - Indestructible

Joannie skating to Indestructible
During the Stars On Ice this year she looked like a bit struggling with this program to me. Then here in Taipei she finally looked like comfortable with it.

5 - Fiona Zaldua/Dmitry Sukhanov - Morphine

Zaldua/Sukhanov skating to Morphine
Again her costume is very sexy, almost dirty. The program did not look very different from the first one.

6 - Kurt Browning - Feeling Good

Kurt skating to Feeling Good
The audience gave Kurt big woo's and aah's at rights moments of flirting moves, and laugh when he rubbed his butt. Kurt stroked his head with both hands at somewhere in the middle of the program, which I do not think he did in the past with this program. Was he checking if his head feels as good as the butt? ;)
Kurt rubbing his head

Kurt was on again and only obvious mistake was a single axel at the second jump of 2A-2A sequence.

Unlike in Stars On Ice, he did not use a hat in the program.

They used strobe lights for some part of this program. I found it a bit a too much. It may have been good if it was for a shorter period.

7 - Shizuka Arakawa - Listen

Shizuka skating to Listen
Again Shizuka brought a program back from a few years ago, but the costume is new. The song is powerful and she used it very well.

8 - Johnny Weir - Fighter

Johnny skating to Fighter
So, three songs of powerful music with strongest vocals in a row. I felt a bit exhausted for that. And I WAS exhausted physically, for real. So perhaps it was me but Johnny looked a bit overpowered by the music.

9 - Evgeny Plyushchenko - Tango (w/ Edvin Marton)

Evgeny with Edvin
Agh, strong music again, but at least there was no vocal. All I remember about the performance was that he landed a 3A again.

10 - Shen Xue/Zhao Hongbo

A medley of musics of their past memorable programs. This program made me feel a bit sentimental.

11 - Finale - violin playing w/ Edvin Marton

I remember there was a male singer singing with a program but I do not remember which program it was. Perhaps it was finale?

My memory of the finale is a bit blur (like my pictures =), but the cast were in red and black. IIRC the choreography was rather simple like a gala after competition.

bow at the finale

After the cast once disappeared, they came back and go around the rink.

Taipei audience was really wonderful. They were very responsive and give big cheers, applauses, laughs, and woo's. And I did not hear any distracting conversation during the show. It was very easy to focus on the show in the crowd like this.

Apparently standing ovations are not in their custom but I saw some doing so in a certain section. Perhaps they are from foreign countries (like me), or local hard-core fans.

Taipei is also a great city to visit with great food, and people I met there were all nice and kind.

It is also very easy for me to visit as the flight from Tokyo takes only 3 hours, with only one-hour time difference. Hope figure skating keep coming back to Taipei even after Shen/Zhao retire.